Three shots rang out in the night, close enough that students on campus could hear them on Moffet quad, signaling the start of a long and fearful night. Reports shuffle, alerts scream from phones and a thousand thoughts race through the minds of the population. One sentence, a singular idea, seeps into the hearts of young men and woman, “You are not safe.”
We live in a country, a place that I love, that has become a land of doubt. We doubt what our nation has told us since birth. We are the best, we are prosperous in a world of little, we are secure in our borders from the evils that may rise beyond them. We have spent decades, damn near a century shielding from the outside that a disease has begun to spread from within our bones.
A symptom that now rears its ugly head and bears its fangs over and over; the greatest weapons of death have been turned on citizens, worse, turned upon our young. Not from a malicious enemy from across the seas, but from a walking pestilence that has gone untreated. War is different, revolution is different, but to what cause is it needed to strike fear into the peaceful populace? Within a school that is designed to send forth a generation of skilled individuals at last fully trained for the realities of life, this place should not fall to its knees when violence takes place nearby.
Those above, the powers that be, the leadership if you would call them that, are backpedaling to undo the terror many where put into. Emails, texts, posts, word-of-mouth…these channels of communication launched a thousand nightmares into the minds of students. All for now what they call a “false alarm.” But the terror still remained. Fear spreads quickly and no amount of “damage control” will undo this. When friends and loved ones become scared for their lives, the disease will continue on from them. The rest of us left to wonder if we will wake up the next day to a list of names being all that remains of those we know.
We don’t have a cure for this. I have no answers, and that is perhaps the worst feeling of all. “If only,” the singular thought, the one desire, the abstract hell that everyone who hears of these events is left in.
If only there was more security! If only there was a better alert system! If only evil didn’t exist! If only guns were outlawed! If only every citizen had a gun! If only I could be there! If only I was able to help!
The hearts of humans flutter between emotions easily and furiously; we can give into the fear quickly, fall into terror swiftly, because falling is easy. It is standing that takes effort; it is change that requires more from us. We can thank our luck, our gods, our police, our doors, that no one was hurt.
No one was hurt…this time